Sunday, December 3, 2023

Pakistan: Muslim mob burns churches, homes after blasphemy allegations, 100 arrested

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Armed Muslim mobs have attacked at least two churches and several homes of Christians in Pakistan’s Jaranwala town accusing two Christian residents of blasphemy.

Videos on social media showed hundreds of people armed with batons and sticks attacking the Salvation Army Church and the Saint Paul Catholic Church, setting them ablaze.

Punjab’s caretaker information minister, Amir Mir, said that more than 100 people were arrested.

Mohammed Naved, a Punjab provincial police inspector, said authorities were doing their best to control the mob in Jaranwala, 115 km from Lahore, the provincial capital, Al Jazeera reported.

Paramilitary Rangers have been deployed “in connection with the religious conflict and sensitive situation of law and order at Tehsil Jaranwala District Faisalabad”, authorities said.

The violence erupted after torn pages of the Quran, the holy book for Muslims, were found near the Christian colony with alleged blasphemous content written on them.

The pages were taken to a local Muslim leader, who reportedly urged Muslims to protest and demand that the culprits be arrested.

Akmal Bhatti, chairman of Minorities Alliance Pakistan, condemned the incident and said the angry mob used the blasphemy laws to justify torching the private homes of innocent people.

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